Tuesday, September 26, 2006

And we're off!...or are we?

Today we leave for six days in Ireland. A & P's wedding is Friday in a castle in Sligo. We're going to stay overnight in the castle the night of the wedding, but otherwise we're staying at B&Bs, either in Sligo or Dublin. I'm excited, but R is sick today so I'm completely stressed out. She came into our room last night at 3am, trembling all over, burning up, and saying her tummy hurt, her eyes hurt, and her head hurt. I gave her Tylenol and laid down for a while with her. She never did throw up and seemed fine this morning. She just played with her breakfast though and said her tummy hurt (and she was shaking again). She's on the couch now and I'm wanting to eat everything in the kitchen. I really wanted a chance to work out today since we'll be on a plane or in airports for over 12 hours. Ah...the best laid plans as they say...

I've been concentrating on eating when hungry, stopping when satisfied, and not eating when not hungry over the past few days. It's been okay. It's hard not to eat over every little feeling, but I keep telling myself that when I'm hungry I can eat whatever I want. Good Lord, how many times have I tried this over the past few years? I figure it's got to sink in sometime. Last night we went to Old Country Buffet for dinner with dad. T was working overtime on the Dick Cheney detail as part of the motorcade. I wandered around and nothing really appealed to me. I finally made a large salad, ate a roasted chicken breast, and then ate about half of 7 different desserts. I really wasn't stuffed when we left though. My dad was appalled at all of the dessert I ate! It was kind of amusing.

I was thinking about why I feel so much more accepting of being overweight when I'm a size 12 than when I'm a size 10 or 8. I think I feel less pressure -- actually, no pressure. No one says "Oh my, you need to lose weight!" or "There's Susan, eating her salad again!" or "Oh you're so good -- you never eat the donuts (or cookies, or brownies, or candy, or....)". People just leave me alone. When I was a size 6, I felt constantly pressured to maintain my weight loss. My coworkers never left me alone -- "You look so great!", "You're doing such a good job!", "Oh, there's that skinny Susan!", "Oh, look how healthy you're eating. It's disgusting!", etc. Every time I got on the scale and saw that I'd gained a pound or two, I panicked. OMG -- was my stomach bigger? Did my pants look tighter? Could people tell I'd put on 2 pounds, or 5 pounds, or 10 pounds? It's almost as though I needed to either be 135 pounds or 160, with no in-between. If I'm 160, people can tell that I've given up. They leave me alone to eat my salad in peace. If I'm 145, people feel sorry for me that I've gained some weight back and my pants are tight. They eye the half donut I'm eating with disapproval. If I weigh 160, obviously I eat donuts, so it's okay. I could eat several because -- hey, I'm fat! Fat people eat donuts.

Friday, September 22, 2006

spiraling out of control

My sister stayed with me for 10 days after my mom died. She has always been an itty bitty thing with somewhat strange eating habits. When pregnant she would eat an entire bag of mini Reeces pb cups at a sitting. She has almost always managed to keep her weight low, however. I think it's just genetic (she's not my biological sis). I was able to see what she was eating while she was here because we were together all the time. The first day she was here she ate 1/2 a granola bar 1/2 a cheese sandwich, and 3 bites of cornbread. That was it. The entire day. It freaked me out and I think I tried to eat enough for both of us.

I'm not sure why it freaked me out so much. She's always been "the skinny sister". Two years ago she had put on some weight for some reason and I was actually a size smaller than she was (being a size 6 at the time). It weirded her out totally. She couldn't stop commenting on how small I was. It made me feel a bit uncomfortable and a little....well.......pleased, happy, proud, superior. I mean, I'd always been the fat one. Anyway, I'm back to being the fat one, and I think I was trying to cement my role or something, while trying to make her eat more and join me. Every time my sister mentioned loving some kind of cookies my mom used to make, I'd run to the kitchen and bake them. We had so many cookies here last week, you'd have thought it was Christmas time. Unfortunately, I ate far more than she did (or anyone else for that matter).

I feel stuck. I cannot seem to eat in any sort of intuitive manner. I try to slow down my eating pace and I end up eating faster. I try to feed myself when hungry and I end up eating too much by the end of the day because I "can't" resist dessert after dinner. I try to ignore my hunger for a while and I end up eating too much, feeling too full, and then fighting the temptation to eat even more. I can't seem to convince myself that I don't have to eat all of the food in the world in one day.

I weighed myself last week and the scale said 167. 167! I haven't weighed that much in years and years and years. I actually can't remember the last time I weighed that much, but it must have been in graduate school -- 1991 maybe? Since I got married in 1995, I know 156 is the most I've weighed unless I was pregnant, and my weight has hovered around 150 for most of my married life. I've been trying to remember what on earth I used to do differently, but it's all a blur. Heck, there were long stretches when I didn't even exercise, baked dozens of Christmas cookies, and still didn't gain weight. Did I spend most of my day starving? I kind of remember eating cereal & milk for breakfast and then ignoring my hunger until lunch, but can't recall much else. Sigh. I don't know why I'm rambling.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I have to say that I will miss mom more than I ever thought possible. There are so many things, big and little, that I’ll miss: her fantastic homemade dinner rolls, brought to every celebration dinner; the way she seemed to read my mind when I wanted to ask for help with something, but couldn’t quite get up the courage to spit it out; the beautiful craftsmanship she exhibited in the gorgeous holiday dresses and Halloween costumes she sewed for her grandchildren; and the glee she took in playing with her grandkids.

She was a terrific grandmother to my children, especially to R. When mom and dad had R out to the house to spend the day or a weekend, mom had endless patience with R’s nonstop chatter. She and R formed a cozy partnership they called “The Crafty Girls” and together they completed a myriad of different craft projects together over the past couple of years. Mom was ever so much more patient than I was with R’s style of crafting, which involved her own stubborn ideas, rather than the actual directions. When she took my kids to the beach, she didn’t just stick them in the car and go. She brought little beach chairs, beach umbrellas, pails, shovels, sunscreen, bug spray, and packed four different kinds of sandwiches, just to make sure she had the kind they liked. She didn’t just sit in a chair wishing she could go home (as I do at the beach) but instead got down in the sand and helped build sand masterpieces.

In the past few years, family seemed to become more important to her, and we’d grown quite close. She was my ready companion for things like craft shows and excursions to places my husband would have found boring, like museum exhibits or home tours. She was supportive to me in many ways when my husband and I were separated and working through marital problems a few years ago. I wouldn’t like to call my accident a year ago a blessing, but I am so very grateful for it, especially now, because it completely changed my relationship with my parents, especially my mom. She and my dad came to our house and took care of my entire family for weeks, changing my bandages, keeping me company during my seemingly endless weeks of confinement to a hospital bed, peppering my physical therapist with questions, doing our weekly grocery shopping, washing our laundry, running our errands, unpacking boxes from our recent move, and cooking up a storm making us everything from homemade bread to dinner every night. I was so touched by the unselfish love and caring shown to me by mom that I started to see her in a different light. I let go of past resentments and anger and was able to tell her for the first time how much I loved her and how grateful I was to her.

I have no doubt that mom was not ready to die yet. She constantly had new schemes and plans afoot, was always planning to take a class or learn a new skill, and spoke about her life as though she was going to live to be 100. To be honest, I always thought she would too. I found a reading that made me think of mom called “Let Me Die Working”.

Let me die working,
Still tackling plans unfinished, tasks undone!
Clean to its end, swift may my race be run.
No laggard steps, no faltering, no shirking;
Let me die working.

Let me die thinking,
Let me fare forth still with an open mind,
Fresh secrets to unfold, new truths to find,
My soul undimmed, alert, no question blinking;
Let me die thinking.

Let me die giving,
The substance of life, for life’s enriching;
Time, things and self on heaven converging,
No selfish thought, love redeeming, living;
Let me die giving.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Fear Factor Biking

Let me just say that I HATE exercise, in pretty much any shape or form. Occasionally before my accident I felt a rush of pride at how capable my body was when doing step aerobics -- heart pounding, sweat pouring off, muscles working hard -- but enjoyment was never any part of the experience. I do exercise -- often and hard. But only because I don't have any interest in a heart attack, a stroke, or use of a cane thirty years down the road.

The only exercise I find remote pleasure in is riding my bike (my outdoors bike, not the deadly dull stationary bike I torture myself with thrice weekly). So naturally, biking scares the *&%$ out of me since last summer. I'm pretty proud of myself that I actually have the courage to get back on a bike at all, but I find it terrifying. That's not strictly true -- once I'm on the bike and riding it, I don't actually feel scared -- unless an animal runs out in front of me. Just thinking about getting on the bike, though, makes me want to run for the closest quart of ice cream and dive in. Logically, I know the odds of breaking my leg into dozens of pieces a second time have to be really, really long, but that knowledge doesn't help. I rode 24 miles yesterday, and rather liked it (well, except for my behind hurting -- I MUST get a gel seat and possibly bicycle pants!) but I had put off that ride for 6 weeks because I was so nervous at the prospect. I wonder if I'll ever get over my anxiety?